Preble Street applauds Congress’ passage of bipartisan Farm Bill protecting food assistance

December 13, 2018

On Wednesday, December 12 the House voted 369-47 to pass a bipartisan Farm Bill, following the Senate’s 87-13 vote to pass the bill Tuesday. Preble Street commends Maine’s Congressional delegation in voting to pass the bipartisan compromise, which protects the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), a vital program that help millions of Americans put food on the table every day.

“The bipartisan Farm Bill agreement passed by the Senate yesterday confirms what millions of people across the country know to be true: SNAP reduces hunger and poverty. Protecting and strengthening SNAP is the right way forward,” said Donna Yellen, Acting Executive Director of Preble Street. “We are grateful that Senators Susan Collins and Angus King and Representatives Chellie Pingree and Bruce Poliquin all voted for this Farm Bill agreement to ensure Mainers have access to nutritious food.”

In communities across Maine, thousands of people struggle to access the food they need. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, nearly 15 percent of Maine households are food insecure, meaning they lack access to enough nutritious food.

Last year, Preble Street served over 600,000 meals through its three soup kitchens, food pantry, and emergency food boxes. While the emergency food system is vital, it would not have been able to make up for any cuts or harmful changes made to SNAP, which would have potentially caused tens of thousands of Mainers to lose access to the food assistance they need to make ends meet. The charitable response to hunger only provides about 5% of food assistance in the country, which means that the charitable system cannot fill the gap if government programs continue to erode. Preble Street is grateful this final Farm Bill agreement rejected damaging changes and will maintain a strong SNAP program that provides a lifeline for Mainers struggling with hunger.

SNAP, formerly known as food stamps, is Maine and our nation’s most important and effective anti-hunger program. In 2017, SNAP helped 180,000 Mainers by providing access to nutritious food and the opportunity to shop for food with dignity. This Farm Bill ensures SNAP continues to feed families with children, seniors, veterans, people with disabilities, and many working people who are in jobs with low wages or inconsistent hours.

With this responsible bipartisan bill, SNAP will help keep food on the table for the one in seven Mainers who participate in the program. Preble Street is grateful that Maine’s Congressional delegation supported this bill and proteced this critical program to help end food insecurity and hunger in Maine.